Bettie Bang Bang is a Pinup girl and a Burlesque Queen. She has served in the Royal Australian Navy and spends a large part of her pinup life dedicated to improving the morale and well-being of returned veterans and current serving personnel, and commemorating those who fell in the line of duty.
Bettie is strong woman with a lot of love to share. Check out her pinup secrets.
When did your passion for the pinup scene start?
I really began to take an interest in the pinup scene when I took my first burlesque class in 2010. I noticed that a lot of the students dressed in the pinup and retro style. I began researching my modern burlesque icons and taking notice of the way they dressed, styled their hair and their vintage makeup look. I just loved how they would dress in a way that was so feminine and also accentuated their figures without revealing too much.
What kind of style are you influenced by?
I am more drawn to the rockabilly pinup rather than the cheesecake pinup, as it suits my hourglass figure more. Whilst I love the cheesecake pinup styles, I often find that the circle skirts and dresses give me a shape that I don’t really like. I prefer the rockabilly pinup styles as they really accentuate the figure and are a little more cheeky.
Who is most influential to your style?
My favourite pinup icons are Dizzy Ms Lizzy, Vintage Vandalizm, Dita Von Teese and Victory Violet
What is your favourite era?
I regularly dabble in vintage and reproduction pinup styles from both the 1940's and 1950's, as I really love things about the clothing from both eras. I love the silhouettes and the fabric patterns of the 1940's, but also really enjoy wearing pieces from the 1950's, almost all the way through to the 1960's.
What are your Top 5 must have items for being the pinup you are?
1 - The absolute ultimate, must have item for me is my winged eyeliner. I have given myself winged eyes for about eight years now, in and out of pinup wear, and I really can’t imagine doing my makeup without them. I swear by Rimmel’s Glam Eyes – the black liquid liner comes with a soft brush, so it can take some precision to get the fierce tips of the wing exactly how you want it, but it doesn’t fade, has amazing staying power and is super dramatic. And it’s usually priced around the $15 mark – bargain!
2 - I also have a stash of red and rouge lipsticks that I use on a rotational basis, but I’ve really come to love the Maybelline (style) matte lip colour. The shape of the canister is super cute, goes on wet and dries matte. It’s a super pretty red, and one that looks great day or night. This product is priced $18 at Priceline – worth every penny!
3 - I swear by my nude convertible low plunge bra from Bras n Things – there’ s so many different necklines in pinup and rockabilly wear, that sometimes it’s a real struggle to find a bra that won’t stick out all over the place, and will also support the girls. This bra is an absolute Godsend! It did cost me about $70 and came with some clear straps that I can pop on when I’m wearing halter necks dresses.
4 - I used to set and style my hair all the time, but these days as I’m quite busy with planning events and working full time, I’ve invested in a few wigs! It might sound crazy, but getting your hands on a vintage styled wig will change your life! I have two that I regularly use, one red and one platinum blonde both styled by Miss Ruby lane at Down the Rabbit Hole Vintage Salon. Most wigs of hers start at the $150 mark, but she does do a sale every now and then, so it’s easier to justify getting two!
5 - A good pair of heels! With all of our different pinup styles that we wear, we need heels to match! My old faithful is Novo shoes – their heels and pumps are actually very flattering and super comfy! Novo has a sale every now and again, so you can even pick up two pairs for the price of one! I also love shopping at High Heels on Crown Street in Sydney – whilst they specialise in pole shoes and dancewear, they also stock shoes that are perfect for pairing with a pinup outfit!
Tell us about your makeup routine and how long it takes you?
My makeup routine now doesn’t take as long as it used to – practise makes perfect right?! My makeup routine for events and shows usually takes me around an hour from the moment I put primer on, to the moment I spray my setting spray to keep it all in tact!
1 - I begin by using the primer ‘Time to Prime’ by Australis – I find this really makes my skin glow and is long lasting.
2 - I then use foundation ‘STAYPUT!’ by Australis (I love the floral smell of this foundation) in Ivory and apply this with a makeup sponge.
3 - I then used the pressed powder ‘Fresh and Flawless ‘ in Nude by Australis over the top of my liquid foundation.
4 - The next step is always contouring! I love the pressed powder contour palette by Australis, as it has multiple shades in the contour and highlighting powders that can be used for day or night. The palette even has a contouring guide on the back of it!
5 -I then apply my blush using the Kate Moss Trio Blush Palette by Rimmel, it’s got super pretty colours and is really easy to use.
6 - After this, I apply my eyeshadow using the ‘Tartelette Tease’ palette by Tarte – It’s a small one, but has some super pretty colours in there also. It’s got a couple of shimmers that are really pretty also.
7 - Once the eyeshadow is set, I line my eyes with Rimmel’s ‘Glam Eyes’ black liquid eyeliner. It took me a while to find a great eyeliner that looked fierce and was easy to use, and I have been using this brand for the past four years.
8 - As soon as the eyeliner dries, I apply my false eyelashes. I SWEAR by ‘KISS’ eyelashes as they are light and easy to apply, and their glue is so super amazing. That stuff stays for hours on end and doesn’t budge!
9 - And finally, I apply my lipstick. As any pinup girl does, I have soooo many red lipsticks in varying shades of red and rouge. At the moment, I really love wearing ‘Ultra HD Matte Lipcolour in Amour’ by Revlon.
How do you set and style your hair?
My favourite way to set and style my hair is by using my Remington large barrelled curling tong. I start with my hair dry, and section it as I’m curling. I use Bed Head styling mouse, and apply to the section of hair I am curling, prior to taking the tong to it. I curl it all the way up to my scalp, let it sit in that heated position for about a minute, and carefully take the tong out. I then curl that section of hair back up and pin to my head in the direction it was curled.
I repeat this until all my hair is curled, and spray with Swarzkopf strong hold hair spray. I usually keep this style in for at least four hours, and brush it out when I feel it has set for long enough.
What's your best kept secret?
Oh gosh, that’s a hard one! I think my best kept secret would be that I always try to smile, even on the hard days. I am a super positive person, but sometimes life can get a little rough around the edges. Finding something to smile about every day is my secret to being grateful, thankful and maintaining a healthy outlook on life.
A little bit more about Bettie Bang Bang
My pinup life is full of colour, laughter, friends and family. I truly believe in the power of friendship, and the way the pinup community supports each other and the wonderful things we all do. A large part of my pinup life is dedicated to improving the morale and well-being of our returned veterans and current serving personnel, and commemorating those who fell in the line of duty. I work very closely with the Sydney Veterans Lodge team, who are currently building the lodge to operate as crisis accommodation for veterans struggling with PTSD and needing some support to get back on their feet. Previously, I ran a charity called Operation: Dear Troops that raised funds to send care packages to our deployed troops. We did this by putting together pinup calendars, and received messages of thanks from around the world.
I have served in the Royal Australian Navy for ten years, and during that time I have deployed five times on warships, and also on ground in Middle East into the UAE and Afghanistan. I have had a super busy career in the Navy, which at times has kept me away from home for long periods of time, and required me to move interstate at very short notice. I will always be forever grateful to the pinup community for the support we all give each other – I experienced this amazing support first hand on return from deployment in 2017 when I was given short notice to move from NSW to VIC. I didn’t know anyone down in VIC very well, but the beautiful Helen Berting from the Rosebud Vintage Bazaar reached out to me online, starting a very wonderful close friendship that we still have today. The pinup girls in Victoria gave me so much support, and it was here that I won five titles in various pinup pageants. I loved being in such a supportive, wonderful environment, and I can’t wait to go back there at the end of the year!